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'NHL Revealed' follows Crosby, Toews as foes

by Brian Compton

Not even a week had passed since Canada celebrated a gold-medal victory against Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Six days, to be exact, were all that separated Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews from a shared championship and what turned out to be a very special night under the lights in Chicago.

Saturday at Soldier Field marked the first time Crosby and Toews faced each other in an NHL regular-season game, which Toews' Blackhawks won 5-1 against Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins in the final installment of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

When the puck dropped in Chicago, the Olympics seemed like a distant memory.

"Stay on your feet there, Sid," Toews chirps at Crosby.

"He can-opened me!" Crosby yells back.

"Wasn't he just your teammate the last two weeks?" someone asks Toews on the Blackhawks bench.

It's one of the memorable scenes from the sixth episode of "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other," on NBCSN in the United States and CBC in Canada.

This week's episode goes into great detail about last weekend's major events: the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Soldier Field and the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic in Vancouver, where the Ottawa Senators defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 at BC Place on Sunday.

Other highlights of the latest episode include:

* Creating a game plan at Soldier Field, which featured a steady snowfall for much of the night.

"I couldn't tell how fast the puck was coming because it was going through the snow," Crosby tells a teammate on the Penguins bench. "I didn't know if I had time to one-time it or what.

"It's probably hard for goalies to see the puck man. Just throw everything at the net."

On the Blackhawks bench, Toews agrees.

"Everything on net, everything on net," he tells his teammates.

* Toews makes a wish come true for 4-year-old Nicholas Skretkowski, who has a medical condition called Wilms' tumor and strabismus. The Milton, Ontario native made the trip to Chicago with his parents.

With the rink to themselves, Toews and Skretkowski skate around the Soldier Field ice before Skretkowski takes a photo with the team.

The Blackhawks' generosity didn't stop there. They then practiced with the USA Warriors, a non-profit charitable organization run entirely by volunteers that offers sled and standing ice hockey programs to wounded, injured and ill service members and disabled veterans.

Each Blackhawks player and hockey staff member donated an unspecified amount, which was then matched by CCM/Reebok, to help provide the Warriors with all new equipment. Each member of the Warriors will receive team jerseys and socks, along with new helmets and gloves.

Toews informed the Warriors of the news on the ice at Soldier Field.

"The boys got together to show our appreciation for everything that you guys have done and got you guys all a set of equipment," Toews said, followed by a long stick tap at center ice.

* Players who weren't competing at the Olympics had some time off to spend with friends and family. Canucks forward David Booth experienced a life-altering moment, when he proposed to his girlfriend, Ashley, while the two built a snowman.

"This snowman's so lonely," Booth tells Ashley. "Who's he gonna spend the rest of his life with? Should we build him another one? And then I got down on one knee and I was like, 'I want to spend the rest of my life with you.'"

"I thought he was joking," his new fiancée says later in the program. "It's all good. I'll roll with the punches."

* Penguins coach Dan Bylsma returns after a disappointing finish at the Olympics, where his United States team fell short against Canada in the semifinals then in the bronze-medal game against Finland.

"We all have stories coming back, and it's a disappointment we're trying to knock out of our head as well," Bylsma said. "I don't know if you totally put it behind you, but we've got to get ready for the last 24 games."

* Prior to a game against the Detroit Red Wings, Senators captain Jason Spezza welcomes a group of children into the dressing room at Canadian Tire Centre. The group is led by James Dunn, who lost a leg to cancer. Spezza shows them around and hands Dunn a Senators Heritage Classic jersey.

"This is one of the jerseys we're going to be wearing in Vancouver on Sunday," Spezza tells Dunn. "I thought you'd like that one. Hope you don't have that one yet."

Spezza then introduces the group to defenseman Erik Karlsson, who still looks bleary-eyed after competing for Sweden in Sochi.

"Tell him to get some sleep," Spezza says.

* An already rough season gets worse for the New York Islanders. Their captain, John Tavares, sustains a knee injury while representing Canada at the Olympics. Tavares, who is New York's leading scorer, will miss the remainder of the season.

"John Tavares is a really good leader," Kyle Okposo says during his morning drive to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. "If he knew what was gonna happen, I think he'd still go because that's how much it means to him. But he's gonna come back stronger than ever."

While the Islanders are out on the ice facing the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Tavares is riding the exercise bike in the dressing room. All he can do is watch his team while it drops a 6-1 decision.

During the game, Devils forward Jaromir Jagr scores his 700th NHL goal.

"I never played the game for the numbers. I play because I love it," Jagr says. "I know I don't have that many games left, so every game is kind of special for me."

* In what would prove to be Roberto Luongo's final days as a member of the Canucks, the goaltender ironically discusses the soap opera he dealt with last season, when he shared the net with Cory Schneider. The latter was traded to the Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft, which opened the door for Luongo to again become Vancouver's No. 1 goalie.

"We all know the history with my story the last couple of years," Luongo says. "It's just good to be back this year and starting again. I wanted to re-establish myself as a No. 1 goalie in the NHL and be as good as I can be. It's been a pretty good season so far. Obviously the last little while we haven't been winning, so it's pretty tough to feel good about yourself. But you've got to be able to turn the page here and I think these last couple of weeks in Sochi (as the backup to Carey Price for Canada) really helped me come back with a fresh mindset here."

Eager to play in the Heritage Classic against the Senators, Luongo instead watches from the bench after Vancouver coach John Tortorella opts to start Eddie Lack.

"I think I have two really good goalies," Tortorella says after the loss. "This decision was made by me to go with Eddie Lack today.

"This is part of the business. I have to make decisions not on consensus, [but] on what I think is best for that team. Eddie deserved to play this game, and I know people are upset. I get that. But I can't do it to make people happy. I can't and I'm not going to."

Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

The sixth episode in the series re-airs on Sportsnet this Sunday at 9 p.m. local time and on the NHL Network in the U.S. on Monday at 4 p.m. ET.


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